December 28, 2003

Luke 2:41-52

   [41] Every year Jesus' parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. [42] When he was twelve years old, they went up as they always did for the Feast. [43] When it was over and they left for home, the child Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents didn't know it. [44] Thinking he was somewhere in the company of pilgrims, they journeyed for a whole day and then began looking for him among relatives and neighbors. [45] When they didn't find him, they went back to Jerusalem looking for him.

    [46] The next day they found him in the Temple seated among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. [47] The teachers were all quite taken with him, impressed with the sharpness of his answers. [48] But his parents were not impressed; they were upset and hurt.

    His mother said, "Young man, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been half out of our minds looking for you."

    [49] He said, "Why were you looking for me? Didn't you know that I had to be here, dealing with the things of my Father?" [50] But they had no idea what he was talking about.

    [51] So he went back to Nazareth with them, and lived obediently with them. His mother held these things dearly, deep within herself. [52] And Jesus matured, growing up in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people.

<The Message>

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1. Kids certainly are a mystery to their parents. What of their words and actions is a foretaste of life to come? What is a flash-in-the-pan, here today and gone tomorrow? In the midst of stress, patterns and expectations go out the window as the issue of the moment demands all the attention.

The issue of paternity is one evidence of stress. How could Mary ever forget the source of Jesus' presence? Does it raise questions about the whole of the virgin birth story? If this story is remembered because of Jesus telling it on himself (you tell those sorts of stories don't you?) it might suggest the whole Christmas story grows out of Jesus' understanding of himself in relationship to GOD more than as a story of Mary's. What do you think?

2. Remember the prior verse (40) is the same as the last verse here (52). This one story bears the weight of Jesus' youth. Of interest here is how verse 40 speaks of GOD's favor while verse 52 moves it on to the favor of GOD and humans.

This is an important progression that is prelude to the big "commandments" of loving GOD with all we've got and loving our neighbor as we love our self. This progression would also be important if the first instance spoke of human's favor and the latter of the favor of both humans and GOD. This is a progression that we are all called to, wherever we start with our focus or understanding. The question is whether you and I and we together are so growing right now.

3. Mary and Joseph were not the only ones along the way to not understand Jesus. The same is true of the disciples and his hometown cronies and the religious establishment and the political/economic/military complex of his time. The same is true by many today, including myself.

I don't understand Jesus. How about you? I have made some progress in understanding. How about you? I am still trying to learn. How about you?